Greyfriars Kirkyard

Cemetery · City of Edinburgh
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Around the Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh is the Greyfriars Kirkyard at the southern end of the historic city center. Since the late 16th century, deceased people have been buried here, including some celebrities. Greyfriars Kirkyard is visited not least because of its historical burial places and the creepy atmosphere.
The unique and ancient Scottish cemetery is located in the heart of Edinburgh. For fans of creepy legends, it is the ideal place, because the cemetery is entwined with unbelievable stories. If the cemetery is already a little creepy in daylight, it becomes extremely creepy at night and in bad weather.

Especially near the "Covenanter's Prison" it is said to haunt. The closed off area was used after 1679 as a prison for all those who opposed the royal family with the "National Covenant" in 1638, but were defeated in 1679. These so-called Covenanters were imprisoned, tortured or executed here. And some of them still haunt the Greyfriars Kirkyard at night.

In the years 1827 and 1828 the serial killer William Burke and his accomplice William Hare made the Greyfriars churchyard unsafe. They began digging up fresh corpses to sell them to the Anatomical Institute for research. However, the majority of the corpses came from murders: Burke and Hare killed a total of 16 people, whom they sold as anatomy corpses. William Burke was publicly executed in 1829; William Hare escaped as a witness.

But there are also curious graves in the cemetery: The Skye Terrier Greyfriars Bobby is said to have spent his own remaining 14 years of life at Gray's grave after the death of his master John Gray in 1858. A small monument reminds of the faithful dog.

Today, Greyfriars is the scene of various horror tours.

Harry Potter fans also know the cemetery as a source of inspiration for J. K. Rowlings. When she spent a lot of time in Edinburgh in the 1990s, she walked across the cemetery and discovered names for her books on the graves. William McGonagall, Elizabeth Moodie and Thomas Riddell look very familiar to real Potterheads. The cemetery is visited by many fans because of these graves.

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Public transport

By bus or train to Edinburgh, stop Edinburgh Waverley, from here approx. 15 minutes on foot.

Getting there

By car to "The City of Edinburgh Bypass", continue on the A702 towards the city center, via Morningside Rd, Bruntsfield Rd and Laurinston Pl to Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Candlemaker Row 
 Edinburgh EH1 2QQ
Phone +44 131 2251900
Responsible for this content
Outdooractive Editors 
outdooractive.com User
Author
Lena Wiesler
Updated: August 20, 2019

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